As Eventmasters Horse Racing Ambassador, Richard Johnson, closes in on his maiden Stobart Champion Jump Jockey title; his old rival and friend Sir Anthony McCoy has spoken of his delight as he prepares to hand over the trophy at Sandown on Saturday.
“Dickie” has enjoyed a sensational season in the saddle and has ridden 233 winners; surpassing AP McCoy’s haul of 231 winners in 2014/15. Making this by far and away his best ever season in jumps racing.
While it will officially confirmed on Saturday all fans of National Hunt Racing have known for long-time that title was heading to Johnson, who is 98 winners clear of his nearest rival Aidan Coleman.
Johnson and McCoy enjoyed a superb rivalry for 20 years, but unfortunately for Johnson he was never able to overhaul the greatest jump jockey of all-time. But with McCoy’s retirement last season he has gone on to dominate the season.
McCoy told the Racing Post: “I couldn’t be happier with who I’m presenting the trophy to at Sandown this weekend”
“Richard is somebody who made me achieve what I achieved for so long and I think it’s thoroughly deserved for his hard work and dedication over the last 20 years. I couldn’t think of anybody more deserving than Richard.
“It takes a brave man to become a jockey and the credit is fully deserved and however good a jockey you think he is, he’s an even better person.”
Maiden title is “a dream come true” for Eventmasters Horse Racing Ambassador Richard Johnson
Johnson’s superb season has seen him ride several big race winners, he guided Smad Place to success in the BetBright Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham.
He won his only Grade One event of the season at Aintree’s Grand National Festival on-board Native River in the Betfred Mildmay Novices’ Chase; defeating Cheltenham Festival heroes Blaklion and Un Temps Pour Touts in the process.
Ahead of the jump season finale at Sandown, Johnson said, “I’m thrilled that I’m going to be crowned champion jockey.
“I’ve always wanted to do it and it’s great that the dream will become a reality at Sandown on Saturday.
“Thank God the jockeys’ championship isn’t as close as the trainers’!”
Johnson of course provided his expert insight to our guests enjoying Cheltenham Festival hospitality inside Silks@Frontrunners in 2016.
Epic day at Sandown will decide the fate of the Trainers Championship
There will be another fascinating subplot at Saturday’s Sandown meeting as Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins go head-to-head for the British Trainers Championship.
After the Grand National Festival, Mullins looked to be a certainty for the title. But Nicholls fought back at Ayr’s Scottish Grand National Meeting with four winners including Vincente in the Scottish Grand National, leaving the Ditcheat trainer £40,000 ahead of the Irish supremo.
With over £400,000 of prize money on offer there is no doubt that Sandown will decide the fate of the Trainers title for 2015/16.
As the summer approaches we now turn our attention to the flat season, with big meetings such as Royal Ascot and the Chester May Festival in high-demand once again.